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Private Drains About Pollution

Private Drains About Pollution

Cr Glenda Barratt, chair of Hutt City Council’s private drains upgrade policy subcommittee that last week heard oral submissions on Hutt City’s proposed Private Drains Policy is concerned that some people appear to be confusing stormwater and floodwater issues.

“It was clear, from listening to submissions, that a few people believe that fixing broken wastewater pipes will alleviate flooding issues in the area,” said Glenda Barratt.

“Wastewater and stormwater systems are separate. The problem is that, in times of heavy rain, cracks and breaks in wastewater drains allow large quantities of stormwater and ground water into the wastewater system. The policy on broken drains is about reducing sewage inflows into the Waiwhetu Stream.

“As such it is about everyone taking responsibility for helping to ensure a clean, pollution-free environment – something that the community rated highly when Community Outcomes were identified.

“Council has spent considerable sums of money fixing public drains and ensuring that its system is up to scratch. This policy is about ensuring homeowners take responsibility for drains on their private property,” said Cr Barratt.

Sections of wastewater drains that are located on private property are the responsibility of the property owner. Council has been and is still upgrading the public sewer system in the area, which will also assist in reducing the overflows.

A total of 312 (including late submissions) written submissions were received.

• 88% of submitters said they support action to reduce wastewater overflows into the Waiwhetu Stream

• 67% thought that Council’s solution to the private drains issue was very/quite satisfactory

Of the 312 people who made written submissions, three submitters attended a meeting on 20 June to verbally present to a Hutt City Council subcommittee, comprising Councillors Glenda Barrett, Deborah Hislop and Julie Englebretsen.

The three submitters supported Council’s objective to reduce the number of wastewater overflows into the Waiwhetu Stream and to Council’s plan for the upgrade of private drains in principle.

The concerns of the submitters were:

the length of time the proposal suggests for the lump sum payment, i.e. fixed and low income earners should be allowed six months to pay, rather than the three proposed

that no, or a reduced rate of interest or administration costs be charged

that flooding issues need to be looked at

some aspects of the consultation and publicity process could have been better.

Some of the 312 written submissions received by Council mentioned flooding issues.

Flooding issues with Waiwhetu Stream are being dealt with by a Greater Wellington Regional Council . Hutt City Council has three elected representatives on this taskforce. Copies of the submissions that talk about flooding issues are being sent to the Greater Wellington Regional Council.

The Councillors on the hearing committee will provide feedback on the submissions to Council’s Strategy and Policy Committee at its meeting on 20 July.

Further information can be found on the Hutt City Council website: www.huttcity.info/drains


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